You’re running on the field with the football in hand heading for the promised land of a touchdown when, your body jolts forward with the intensity of a car wreck and you’re thrust to the ground. Your helmet hits the ground before you can reach the dirt. Immediately, you’re rushed to the sidelines since and are a tad dazed, but other than that seemingly fine. You can walk, speak, and see as normal. The person trainer asks you to recount what day it is; what was the last play; who won the last game; and what is our record. Finally, you’re required to recite the months of the year backwards and that’s it; you’re free to play from there. Everything is fine right? Wrong, because even though you weren’t exemplifying severe signs at that time, you do have a concussion and implications from it can follow you for a long time.
The scenario above is all too common with today’s National Football League concussion tests. ESPN spoke with Dr. Javier Cardenas about this ever-present issue within sports today. He is the medical director of the Barrow Concussion and Brain Injury Center in Arizona. Cardenas shed some light on a possible rectification of the limited concussion tests that are present today in order to protect the safety and health of players in the future.
Although this seems a ways off, doctors and researchers are optimistic that these tests will incorporate analysis of blood or saliva to determine if a player is physically able to return to a game after taking an abnormally hard hit. This will create a more scientific angle to dissect the effects a player may be having and determine if they should be removed from the game at hand. This will processed through a mouth guard that, ideally, would modify or change its colors if the saliva that is comes in contact with has signs of a concussion.
Still, Cardenas does acknowledge that there are some proactive approaches already being taken to protect players. What more do you think could be done? Let us know in the comments section below!